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Do Tough Situations Actually Make People Stronger?


Decision-making is stressful. Acting like a real adult is complicated. Being a contributing member of society is tiring. Do difficult things in life actually help you grown and become stronger, or do they just wear you down?

I'm not sure how well this example will transfer over, as this topic is more theoretical than anything. But it seems appropriate. Academically, study after study has shown that attending a more prestigious institution or going through a more rigorous program does not dictate whether someone will be successful.

The piece that matters is how well that person is able to do at each stage. For instance, according to the research, a C-student at Harvard has a more difficult road to success than an A-student at a state school.

You would think, "Oh, they got into Harvard, they'll do great things." Not true. What actually matters is the self-confidence and assurance developed. An A-student will feel more confident than a C-student in their abilities to do well, and that plays into every aspect of life moving forward.

Where these two concepts overlap is their effect on the psyche. I may be doing well in some areas, but I definitely feel that I'm struggling to keep up, to grow, and to do this whole "life" thing well. Ultimately I "know" I'll be okay, right? I'll work smart, try hard, etc. I'll make a few mistakes and eventually get through it all. But it makes me wonder.

I'm not excelling anywhere right now, which is completely fine by itself. What young person is going to excel at everything without battling for several years first, right? It makes me a bit paranoid, though. What effects will this time of struggle have long term?

Will it make me better able and more successful? Or will it just gradually wear me down until one day, years from now, I crack?

I'm sure there's a right answer. What it is, I don't know. Trying to figure this out while bogged down in the minutia of living it is just as difficult as the minutia itself!